Corbyn has strengthened Labour. Let’s deal with it

Now that all the shouting has died down, what we are left with is rubble, the picking over of bones, the effort to find some hopeful things to say when in reality we are facing a dispiriting mess and some of the most incompetent decisions in modern politics.

Theresa May did not need to call an election, but arrogance – which runs through parts of the Conservative Party like letters through a stick of Blackpool rock – appears to have persuaded her to do so in the vain pursuit of the Brexit unicorn. This is the fantasy that she and she alone could negotiate the ultimate deal with the European partners whom we are about to divorce.

I thought about Brexit, the hard and soft versions, in a passport control queue this week and wondered whether it would be the last time I would be waved through with the other Europeans or whether I would have to wait
in line with Albanians and Turks next time
I travel, courtesy of Mrs May and her cohorts.

What we are facing is the result of all kinds of ill-considered judgment, on both Left and Right. The Right – led by May and the Maybots – seem to think they are in power by some sort of divine right.

And the Left is not immune from its own stupidities. Commentators in the know say that if Jeremy Corbyn had really got a grip
on the whole anti-Semitism farrago and dealt with it properly – which would have meant expelling Livingstone rather than suspending him and having him hang around Labour like a bad smell – then the party could have won more seats and we could be looking at a different outcome today.

But he didn’t, and that poor judgment, and an apparent inability to repudiate his more dodgy “friends” in 30 years of being a backbench maverick – without the need to be held accountable back in the day – has cost Corbyn dearly. He could have won the two crucial north-west London seats of Hendon and Finchley and Golders Green handsomely.

Instead, both the Conservative incumbents have been returned to Parliament, but have been given a fright, with vastly reduced majorities. It is to be hoped, in Matthew Offord’s case, that he has learned a useful lesson in listening to what his constituents actually want. A bit of empathy and a great deal more hard work won’t go amiss.

The Corbyn factor made life twice as difficult as it needed to be for hard-working Labour MPs. But Corbyn, like May, now appears to think himself invincible and untouchable.

For the Jewish community, the results of the election we never needed are a mixed blessing. A cobbled alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists (DUP) to allow May to retain her foot in Downing Street’s door is a pretty unsavoury solution to not having Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn.

There are some nuggets to celebrate: the return of Wes Streeting to represent Ilford North with a socking great majority, and that of hard-working Ivan Lewis to Bury South, are both great news.

But we can’t rely on Tory handouts from the high table for much longer. Like it or not, the Jewish community will have to deal intelligently with a much strengthened Labour Party, who were far from wiped out as those
on the Right had gleefully predicted.

It is surely in our interests to reopen channels of communication with Labour. Because if the DUP doesn’t back May all the way, then we are inevitably looking at another election, sooner rather than later. And, like Brenda from Bristol, one thing I do know is that our response to that will be a near-universal groan of “Oh, no!”

About the Author
Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist.
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